13 November 2014

Joining a Healthwalk has just got easier - literally!

A new series of Healthwalks, setting off from city libraries, kicks off this weekend.

The first will leave Jubilee Library Saturday 15th November at 11am.

The new ‘Walk & Reads’ are part of a joint initiative between Brighton & Hove Libraries and the Healthwalks scheme to provide opportunities to enjoy a healthy walk starting from local libraries.

Walkers will not only benefit from getting out in the fresh air and making new friends, they can also enjoy a cup of tea afterwards and a chance to browse the libraries collections of books – finding interesting routes for local walks and mood-boosting fiction, chosen by local people.

Saturday’s walk is 3 miles long and will explore the historic North Laine and twittens; newcomers to Healthwalks are advised to arrive 15 minutes early to give them time to complete the simple registration process. This will be followed by monthly Healthwalks, each leaving from a different library.

A combination of reading and walking is a perfect way to keep body and mind in shape.

Walking briskly for thirty minutes per day 5 days per week, has enormous health benefits, including reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke by half, managing weight loss, lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of developing dementia in later life.

Reading is a hugely effective way to lift your mood. Reading for as little as 6 minutes is sufficient to reduce stress levels by 60%, slowing heart beat, easing muscle tension and altering the state of mind. A good book can transport you (mentally) away from the everyday humdrum to a more interesting place.

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, Chair of the Economic Development and Culture Committee said: “This innovative and exciting scheme marks a whole new chapter in our popular Healthwalks programme.

“Combining reading and walking (not necessarily at the same time!) has the potential to reach out across the city and provide huge benefits for people’s mental and physical wellbeing.

Brighton & Hove City Council’s Healthwalks scheme recently won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service; the highest accolade possible for organisations that provide services that are led by volunteers.

For full details of the ‘Walk & Reads’, and the full programme of other Healthwalks across the city, download the Autumn/Winter programme from www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/healthwalks or pick up a copy from your local library. If you would like to volunteer to lead Health Walks in the city, please get in touch with healthwalks@brighton-hove.gov.uk or call 01273 292564.

If you are interested in joining a book group see http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/content/leisure-and-libraries/libraries/reading-and-writing-groups for details. Libraries also offer information books about diet and exercise and Reading Well Books on Prescription to support people in managing mild to moderate mental health conditions